I had a week off and went to 14 matches. So I’m now up to a healthier 46 for the season and 6,511 in total. I wish my 6,500th had been a better experience but on a cold, wet and windy afternoon Wingate & Finchley drew 0-0 with Biggleswade Town in an FA Cup tie at Summers Lane. The replay, which I didn’t see, finished 4-3 to the Waders!
My travels last week took me to matches in The FA Cup, The FA Vase, The FA Women’s Cup, the Football League Championship, the Wessex League, the London Underground League, the London Accountants League, the Islington Midweek League and an English Schools’ FA U19s Cup.
I had two nights down in Bournemouth, staying at the usual hotel in Sea Road. The manager was going to accompany me to AFC Bournemouth v Barnsley on Tuesday night but the plumber said he would come between eight and nine and I had to go to Dean Court on my own. The Cherries, back in the second tier after 23 years, won 1-0 with a goal in the 78th minute.
I was slightly concerned that Brockenhurst’s Wessex League fixture with Fareham Town on Wednesday hadn’t been previewed in the local evening paper. But they did play and it was an eventful night even before the kick-off.
There was a problem with one of the floodlight pylons, with that quarter of the pitch not quite as well illuminated as the other three. Fortunately there was a full moon and that certainly helped!
Brockenhurst, a New Forest team known as “The Badgers”, won a match that had six goals, a penalty, a red card and several yellows. Brockenhurst, then 19th in the table, were 4-2 winners and I was back in the hotel giving Peter a full report in the bar by 10.20pm.
My best match of the 14 was Saturday’s FA Vase tie between Wembley and Hatfield Town, though it hadn’t been my first choice to go to. I arrived at Victoria around 1pm, expecting to travel to Chipstead for Epsom & Ewell v Whyteleafe, but it was announced that there had been an incident at Clapham Junction and as a consequence there was nothing going south.
There were two ties I still had time to get to and I went for Wembley FC at Vale Farm, reached via the District Line to Earl’s Court and Piccadilly line to Sudbury Town. On a dull afternoon I saw an FA Vase classic, Wembley coming back from a goal down at the break to win it with seven minutes to go.
“The Lions” had put so much effort into that second half that they deserved their success. Their flying left-winger, Tatsuya Fujioka, had netted a hat-trick in the previous round and it was his brave diving header that brought them level on Saturday.
On an equally dull Sunday I made it from Pitch 8 at Regent’s Park to Mayesbrook Park , the home of Barking FC, in under an hour and a half. The Blues were playing Flitwick in one of those one-sided ties that you sometimes see in The FA Women’s Cup.
There were no goals for nearly half an hour but the home side found their range after that to rattle in four in 15 minutes. It was 6-0 at the end but it could have been double that with some more composed finishing.
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The super fan has been on a busman’s holiday taking in 14 games on his "week off"